Friday, April 14, 2017

Star Wars Episode VIII Trailer is Here!

Here it is:


As usual, it looks pretty phenomenal.

For me, this is the important part:

It looks like we can count on seeing Captain Phasma return.  From what little I can see, her costume is unchanged and she still carries the same blaster rifle:


In other news, now I have an excuse to do a bonfire photoshoot somewhere...


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Building the Fallout 4 T-60 Power Armor Part 1: 3D Models and Scale

I suppose I've never been accused of being especially sane.  That said, I suppose the worst of my big, bad ideas always start somewhere.

This idea started with some box art.  Specifically, I was walking through the software section of some kind of store and was stopped short when I spotted this:

Back then I didn't know what the hell that thing was supposed to be.  I just knew that I wanted one.

I've usually got a pretty big backlog of projects on my "need to build" list.  So it wasn't any kind of impossible to resist the urge to start cranking out pieces and parts for this project the moment it caught my eye.  That's good because, while the helmet was pretty nifty, the rest of the suit could have used a lot more design work.

Fast forward a while and they made a sequel:

This one didn't really make me want to stop everything and build it.  Crisis averted, I managed to happily go on about the rest of my days until...

Fallout 3:

Suddenly the design stopped being about goofy retro sci-fi or funny parrot-faced weirdness and everything about it looked awesome.  This one got me even more interested.  Still, I thought the rest of the armor that went with the helmet left a little to be desired:

Don't get me wrong.  It's pretty cool.  But for some reason it seems like the design team finished working out the details on the head and shoulders and said, "good enough."  The rest just seems somehow lacking.

Then this happened:

The first time I saw the trailer for Fallout 4, I knew I wasn't going to be able to resist the urge to put this thing together in real life.  From head to toe, the whole suit was covered in interesting details and design quirks.  The final stroke was seeing how the whole thing was worn.  It turns out the wearer climbs up into the suit and stands on footpads about a foot or so up off the ground, then the suit closes around them.

The arms are a similar arrangement.  The wearer's hands reach into the middle of the armor's forearms and the hands you see from the outside are mechanical extensions.

This means that I get to make another giant suit of armor that will make a six-foot wearer into a seven-foot plus behemoth.

Challenge accepted.

When it started to look like I was going to have a lull in my project schedule, I began to shop around for digital models.  
Enter Joost Driesen.  When I was searching the interwebs for 3D files or someone to make them, we worked a trade and he sent me all of the models I'd need in order to build this monster.  You can see some of his other work here:  LINK.

Anyhow, within a few hours, he'd sent me this:
Models In Progress

And a couple of days later this:
Models In Progress

So I got started picking out the various pieces and parts and getting them ready for fabrication.

The first and possibly most important step was to decide on a scale.

In the game, the suit makes a full height human stand head and shoulders above another human adult.

I'm a little on the short side, so I started by generating a digital model with proportions that roughly approximate mine.  Then I just scaled the suit to look right standing next to me:

Digital Scaling

At this scale, the full suit will be just under seven feet and one inch tall.  Sideshow collectibles makes a 1/6 scale action figure based on this suit that's 14-1/2" tall.  You can see it here: LINK.  If their scale is correct, the full-sized version would be seven feet and three inches tall.

Given the variable heights of the wearers, I'm calling it close enough.

Stay tuned for the next update and I'll explain the process of turning all of these bits and bytes into pieces and parts...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

COMING SOON to the 2017 Bay Area Maker Faire!

So much excitement.  But first, a recap...

Back in 2011 I brought my very first display to the Bay Area Maker Faire.  It was kinda decent:
Setting up Booth

That year's exciting new project was the series of Red vs. Blue costumes that my crew and I had made along with a bunch of UNSC trooper costumes we made to escort them around:
Me and the Crew

There was a lot of stress and strife, but I still enjoyed it enough to convince me to come back in 2012.  But in order to make sure I wasn't completely stale, this time I brought Space Marines:
IN Show Off 4

In 2013, I decided to take it easier.  Instead of killing myself and torturing all of my friends and family with some massive insanity project, we got to just show up and display all of the stuff that was already finished from the workshop.  It was awful:
2013 Maker Faire 35

To make up for it, 2014 needed something bigger.  Something better.  Something new.  That was the main reason for building this beast:
Untitled

THAT was a pretty good year.

In 2015, I expanded the display, had more various costumes walking around, and put up a whole bunch of new, portable props and such:
MAKER FAIRE 2015

It was fun, but there wasn't a big, huge, new thing.

Then last year I missed the Maker Faire altogether while I was attending the veterinary school graduation ceremony for Doctor Girlfriend:
Doctor Hot Chick

The only sample of my work walking around at the Maker Faire was this big red guy:
img_3616

So this year I'll be back.

After a lackluster showing followed by a no-show, I've decided I have to make something pretty phenomenal for this year's Maker Faire.  I've only got myself to beat, so it'll be up to me to pick something suitably amazing.

Work has already begun and the project is well on it's way to completion.

What will it be?  Stay tuned for further updates...

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Building a Replica of the War Machine Helmet from Ironman 2

A while back I made a pretty decent Ironman costume.  You can read about it here: LINK.  Along the way, I got pretty well and thoroughly sidetracked when I decided to start making some of the many other helmets that show up in the films such as the Mk39 "Gemini" helmet and the Mk33 "Silver Centurion" helmet.

While I was pretty happy with all of them, the one that I've wanted to have more than any of them was this one:


I was hoping that somewhere along the way I'd come across someone who'd already made one and would be willing to trade me for a raw cast.  But alas, it was not to be.

Instead, I ended up making my own.  Here's the finished product:
WM Helmet Painting 15

For details on how it was made, read on...

Monday, March 6, 2017

Clone Wars Mandalorian Costumes Part 8: the Jetpack

This is the eighth article in the series detailing the building of a whole bunch of Death Watch and Night Owl Mandalorians from the Clone Wars animated series in preparation for Star Wars Celebration: Anaheim. If you're just now tuning in to this project, be sure to check out the previous parts:

Those parts were fun, but nothing compared to making the jetpack:

Not to mention making over a dozen of them:
Jetpack Lineup in the Shop

If you want to know how they were made, read on...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Clone Wars Mandalorian Costumes Part 7: the Gauntlets and Knees

This is the seventh article in the series detailing the building of a whole bunch of Death Watch and Night Owl Mandalorians from the Clone Wars animated series in preparation for Star Wars Celebration: Anaheim a couple of years back.  I've been really slow to write these, and for that I am ashamed.

You can read the previous articles here:

Part1: the Death Watch Helmets
Part 2: the Night Owl Helmets
Part 3: the Armor
Part 4: the Soft Parts
Part 5: the Blaster Pistols
Part 6: the Nite Owl Armor 

So with all of those pieces put together, it was time to work out the making of the gauntlet and knee pieces.  Both came with their own unique challenges, but in the end we still made quite a lot of them:


For details and additional photos of how they were made, read on...

Thursday, February 9, 2017

February 2017 UFO Sightings in the Workshop

So there's been a shortage of finished things to write about once again.  Part of that has to do with the fact that I'm a lazy blogger.  But most of that has to do with the fact that I've got a lot of works in progress these past couple of months.  In fact, I've got so many irons in the fire lately that I've been accused of having more iron than fire.

That's just because folks don't realize how much fire I've really got.


Still, to make sure you know I'm still alive and churning out projects, here's another roundup of UnFinished Objects currently in the works...

First up, there's this stack of parts:
Parts Stacking Up

That's about 75% of the carved prototypes that I need to put together for the T-60 Power Armor from Fallout 4.  Each of the individual pieces is kinda huge:
Hero Pose

Here's a lower leg:
Right Lower Leg Assembly Roughed

I still need to carve out the back plate(s), the feet, and the bigger section of the shoulders, but that project is moving right along.

On the subject of carving, there's also this thing:
Shin and Knee Stacked

That's the two pieces of the lower right leg of the War Machine suit as seen in Ironman 2.  I'm collaborating with a very talented friend of mine who agreed to do the smoothing and molding in exchange for keeping the first set of parts to come out of the mold.  It's slow going, but by now I've carved out the lower legs, the shoulder, pelvis, waist, spine plates, upper arms, and the thighs.

I made the helmet a couple of years ago.  One of these days I'll install the glowing red eyes and write up that project too:
WM Helmet Painting 15

On the subject of Marvel stuff, there's also this gem:
Red Anodize First Pass

I've been fighting with the red candy coat, but once I get that dialed in I can install the other piece:
Star Unmasked

On the subject of annoying paint, I've been making a batch of these guys:
Shiny Progress

I could've probably called them done months ago, but every time I look I spot some tiny, microscopic imperfection in the glossy surface and decide I need to sand everything down and clearcoat it again.  Here's one of them fully assembled:
TI83779 Helmet Glam

I suppose it's pretty shiny...

On the Star Wars front, I'm putting together three of these guys:
F-11D Blaster Without Stickers

The next one will have the extended buttstock and the third one will be chrome.  So there's that.

In unrelated news, I've gotten a good start on a sculpt for the Wolf Helm of Russ from Warhammer 40K:
Rough Shapes Blocked Front

There's other things in progress, but these are the only ones I'm in a position to discuss publicly.

Stay tuned for updates.  More madness is always on the way.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

2016: the Year in Review

So there I was on the morning of January first 2016, somewhere in the frozen backwaters of upstate New York, penniless and hungover with no idea how I was going to get home.  Little did I know, 2016 was going to present me with one of the busiest, craziest, hardest, best, and worst years ever.

For a longer summation, read on...